Ngati Ruanui Calls Stratford District Council Out For Racism
“Stratford District Council relationship with tangata whenua is nothing but tokenism, dialling up for a karakia and pōwhiri as suits but refusing to start listening and respond like every other Council in the Taranaki and introduce Māori Wards”, says Haimona Maruera chair of Ngāti Ruanui Runanga.
This was the message being sent to the Stratford District Council by Ngāti Ruanui after the Council decided not to introduce Māori Wards for the 2022 local government elections.
Ngāti Ruanui will be making its voice heard at the Council’s Long-Term Plan Hearing this Tuesday the 18th of May.
Haimona Maruera, says, the Stratford District Council is preserving a racist model of governance by excluding a Māori voice at the decision-making table.
Maruera said, “the Council was pathetic in communicating its position to the Iwi of the region despite claiming it wanted to consult. The Council clearly is out of touch with tangata whenua, who invest largely in the local area.
“Ultimately the position of this Council is “really racist” change is required and must happen now. Ngāti Ruanui will be approaching all Iwi to withdraw engaging with this council if it continues down this path”, said Maruera.
Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer also supported the position taken by tangata whenua, “I attended yesterday’s hui and heard the disgust and loss of goodwill these councillors have created. It’s disappointing to see the Mayor who leant on Iwi to back Tapuae Roa Taranaki regional economic development strategy not step up and listen to voice of mana whenua; the voice of Māori counts and we should be encouraging not eliminating their voices”, said Debbie.